As the heated race in the smartphone market hits a fever pitch, touting the device's image capture capability remains front and center in most of the major manufacturer's marketing plans.

Further evidence of this can be seen from HTC given the push behind their new One Mini 2 is all about taking pictures, particularly "selfies" as the smartphone features the ability to take high-resolution selfies with a 5-megapixel front camera. (Yes, the selfie craze simply won't go away).

The One Mini 2 is essentially a smaller version of a flagship phone with design specs that mimic the recently released One M8. Additional specs include Android 4.4 and a Qualcomm S400 quad-core processor running at 1.2GHz. Add 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage that can be expanded via a microSD card slot.

Not unlike just about everyone else in this category, HTC is banking on a new camera feature to help separate their product from the pack.

The list of image capture-related announcements in just the last few months is worth noting in this space as Huawei Technologies just announced the Ascend P7, which has an 8-megapixel camera on the front, Apple's recent hiring of Ari Partinen, the brains behind Nokia's 41 megapixel PureView imaging tech that made headlines last year, Oppo recently introduced their new Find 7, a larger screen (5.5-inch) model that boasts a 50-megapixel resolution, and least we forget HTC also spent a fair amount of time bragging about the new dual lens tech on the HTC One, with its two lenses on the backside of the device.

All the major players in this space are placing their chips on the trend that is seeing consumers turn to their smartphones as their primary image capture device.

All this and these guys are just getting started as improved lens technology, better sensors and some amazing new in-camera software tricks are all on the horizon in the not-too-distant future for this category.

In a recent study conducted by Suite 48 Analytics, the research firm found that in 2013 almost 60 percent of those surveyed take pictures exclusively with their smartphone.

"With smartphone market penetration still growing and camera optics and photo apps still improving, smartphones are rapidly becoming the most used device for many photo tasks, including taking photos," explained Hans Hartman, president of Suite 48 Analytics and lead author of the report. "But today's active photo-taker doesn't use their smartphone at any cost. For instance, many prefer to take photos with their digital camera at 'high volume' occasions or to edit their photos on a computer rather than doing this on a smartphone."

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